Day five and today we are reviewing a picture book that was originally published in Japanese: Hannah’s Night by Komako Sakai, translated by Cathy Hirano (Gecko Press).
Emma: I like it when she borrows her sister’s doll. I really like the drawings of the cat. The cat has green eyes.
This book was recommended to me on Twitter and when it arrived, I thought the muted front cover was a little dull, especially compared to some of the other brighter books that we had come across. Well, I was very wrong to judge the book by its cover. This book is a wonderfully sweet and simple story, telling of a little girl, Hannah, who wakes in the night to find everyone in her family asleep. She decides to go for a wander around the house accompanied by the family cat, Shiro. She eats some cherries from the fridge “without asking”, she giggles to herself as she borrows her sleeping older sister’s toys, eventually curling up and going back to sleep on her sister’s bed.
The illustrations are absolutely magical. The expressions and postures of both Hannah and her cat are heart-achingly accurate; the way the cat brushes up against little Hannah as she peers into her parents’ darkened bedroom. You can almost see her wobbling a little, holding onto the wall as she goes down the stairs. Having not instantly been drawn to the book, Emma now keeps coming back to this one. As the younger sibling, rarely allowed to touch her big brothers stuff, she particularly likes the idea of Hannah “borrowing” her older sister’s toys while she sleeps.
Just like The Field in day three, this is another book that reminds me that while we may be miles apart and live in different surroundings, in different cultures with different customs, there are so many experiences that we share.